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FACTS: Respondents Mohammad Ali Dimaporo, Abdullah Dimaporo, and Amer Dianalan, were stockholders and officers of the Mindanao Coconut Oil Mills (MINCOCO), a domestic corporation established in 1974, while respondents Panfilo O. Domingo, Conrado S. Reyes, Enrique M. Herboza, and Ricardo Sunga, were then officers of the National Investment and Development Corporation (NIDC). On 10 May 1976, MINCOCO applied for a Guarantee Loan Accommodation with the NIDC for the amount of approximatelyP30, 400,000.00, which the NIDC’s Board of Directors approved on 23 June 1976. The guarantee loan was, however, both undercapitalized and under-collateralized because MINCOCO’s paid capital then was only P7,000,000.00 and its assets worth is P7,000,000.00. This notwithstanding, MINCOCO further obtained additional Guarantee Loan Accommodations from NIDC in the amount ofP13,647,600.00 and P7,000,000.00, respectively. When MINCOCO’s mortgage liens were about to be foreclosed by the government banks due its outstanding obligations, Eduardo Cojuangco issued a memorandum dated 18 July 1983, bearing the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ (President Marcos) marginal note, disallowing the foreclosure of MINCOCO’s properties. The government banks were not able to recover any amount from MINCOCO and President Marcos’ marginal note was construed by the NIDC to have effectively released MINCOCO, including its owners, from all of its financial liabilities. The above mentioned transactions, were, however, discovered only in 1992 after then President Fidel V. Ramos (President Ramos), in an effort to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late President Marcos, his family, and cronies, issued Administrative Order No. 13 creating the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans (the Committee), with the Chairman of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as the Committee’s head. The Committee was directed, inter alia, to inventory all behest loans, and identify the lenders and borrowers, including the principal officers and stockholders of the borrowing firms, as well as the persons responsible for the granting of loans or who influenced the grant thereof. Subsequently, then President Ramos issued Memorandum Order No. 61 outlining the criteria which may be utilized as a frame of reference in determining a behest loan, viz: a. It is under-collateralized; b. The borrower corporation is undercapitalized; c. Direct or indirect endorsement by high government officials like presence of marginal note; d. Stockholders, officers or agents of the borrower corporation are identified as cronies; e. Deviation of use of loan proceeds from the purpose intended; f. Use of corporate layering; g. Non-feasibility of the project for which financing is being sought; h.Extraordinary speed in which the loan release was made. The Committee found that twenty-one (21) corporations, including MINCOCO, obtained behest loans. It claimed that the fact that MINCOCO was under-collateralized and undercapitalized; that its officers were identified as cronies; that the late President Marcos had marginal note, effectively waiving the government’s right to foreclose MINCOCO’s mortgage liens; and, that the Guarantee Loan Accommodation were approved in an extraordinary speed of one month, bore badges of behest loans.
there was no need for it to obtain the latter. the following shall be considered: (1) the period of prescription for the offense charged. The time as to when the prescriptive period starts to run for crimes committed under Republic Act No.The Ombudsman explained: Being undercapitalized. there was insufficient evidence to warrant the indictment of the persons charged. the alleged offenses had prescribed. the Ombudsman motu prorio dismissed the complaint on the grounds that. 61. hence. if they meant endorsement as defined under Memorandum Order No. will no longer prosper for the offenses have already prescribed. Held: In resolving the issue of prescription.Subsequently. the respondents are charged of violations of Sections 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. the prescriptive period began to run in 1976. Section 2 of which provides that: Section 2. On the issue that the notation by President Marcos in the Memorandum of July 18. (2) the time the period of prescription started to run. one of which was MINCOCO. It is in effect approved the release of the liabilities of the former owners of coconut oil mills. standing alone is meaningless. otherwise. ISSUE: Whether or not the criminal aspect of the case has already prescribed. By Resolution dated 9 July 1998. 1983 is a behest order. and. The approval of the loans/guarantees was still based on sound lending practice. but not the acquisition of the said loans/guarantees. MINCOCO would have been disqualified from obtaining the same. no evidence was adduced to prove the same. and (3) the time the prescriptive period was interrupted. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law. as amended. The instant case however. 3019. first. and if the same be not known at the time. For the perpetration of the acts being complained of. If MINCOCO’s equity was more than the amount of the loans. is covered by Act No. Anent the claim that Mohammad Ali Dimaporo was a crony of the late President Marcos. we are not persuaded that in this specific case. according to the Ambudsman. when the loans were transacted. from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment. a special law. remains a bare allegation. 3019. . suffice it to state that these marginal notes. second. the Committee filed with the Ombudsman a sworn complaint against MINCOCO’s Officers and NIDC’s Board of Directors for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019. While we sustain the Ombudsman’s contention that the prescriptive period for the crime charged herein is 10 years and not 15 years. endorsed the recommendation regarding the mortgage liens of the government banks of the Mothballed Coconut Oil Mills and not the approval/grant of the loans/guarantees in 1976. 3326.
SO ORDERED.R. Jr.e.. REQUIRE the counsels of respondents Panfilo O. No. Lao. Enrique M. and Ricardo Sunga. the prescriptive period shall commence to run on the day the crime is committed. Digested by: Jaime A. i. Reyes. Duque which became the cornerstone of our 1999 Decision in Presidential Ad Hoc FactFinding Committee on Behest Loans v. Herboza. the courts would decline to apply the statute of limitations where the plaintiff does not know or has no reasonable means of knowing the existence of a cause of action. discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or acts. and 3. WHEREFORE. on the ground of prescription too. An exception to this rule is the “blameless ignorance” doctrine. 2. The Ombudsman is hereby ORDERED to: 1. Generally. that if the violation of the special law was not known at the time of its commission. the prescription begins to run only from the discovery thereof. DISMISS the complaint against deceased respondent Conrado S.” does not prevent the running of the prescriptive period. That an aggrieved person “entitled to an action has no knowledge of his right to sue or of the facts out of which his right arises. we held in a catena of cases. In other words. Thus. Desierto (G. emphatically. FILE with the Sandiganbayan the necessary Information against respondents Abdullah Dimaporo.” It was in this accord that the Court confronted the question on the running of the prescriptive period in People v. the petition is GRANTED. . and the subsequent cases which Ombudsman Desierto dismissed. 130149). “the statute of limitations runs only upon discovery of the fact of the invasion of a right which will support a cause of action. Domingo and Mohammad Ali Dimaporo to submit proof of their deaths. Amer Dianalan.The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person. incorporated in Section 2 of Act No. 3326. and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting double jeopardy. Under this doctrine.
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